Aug 9 2005
As reported by plastictrees.net, iTunes’ Podcast popularity rankings can be easily manipulated due to a simple flaw in the way the determine the number of subscriptions:
It looks like iTunes doesn’t record how many people are actually subscribed to a podcast but rather how many times the button is pressed
This makes the iTunes ranking as irrelevant as a list because just about anyone can change the results in iTunes by simply clicking on the subscribe button 20 or 50 or 100 times.
UPDATE: Evidently, Apple is not afraid to pull podcasts that attempt to manipulate the subscription ratings by exploiting the flaw in iTunes’ popularity theory. Today, after numerous members of the Diggnation Army flooded the iTunes Music Store with false subscription clicks, Apple retaliated by quietly removing the Diggnation podcast from their directory leaving a hole in the 3 by 2 matrix of recommended podcasts seen at right.
This not only means that the iTunes podcast directory has a flawed Top 100, it also means that being listed in the directory is a privilege earned by honorable behavior and not by simply having a podcast.
There are several podcast directories available on the internet–almost as many as there are services by which one may subscribe to podcasts. August Trometer of iPodderX fame, in reaction to Apple’s disciplinary action Diggnation, said, “And iPodderX would never do _anything_ like that…We don’t monkey with our Directory. Only the Top Picks, which are chosen by us.”